During the pandemic, we’re finding ways to send our love across the miles. Care packages are back! Last week, my nephew got a package of cupcakes delivered for his 24th birthday. That’s very yummy and quaint, but what about care packages with more substance and nourishment? I’m thinking of parcels with less sugar crash and more healthy bounce.
Patagonia, the California company and the Best Horse Practices Summit title sponsor since the conference’s inception, has prudently closed its clothing and gear operations during this pandemic. But Patagonia Provisions, which offers delicious, shelf-stable food and drink, is still up and running. We sampled offerings from its Taste of Provisions gift pack, which includes dried mango, buffalo jerky, mussels, breakfast cereal, chili, and more. All yummy and sugar-crash free.
Provisions sources much of its food from farmers who use regenerative, organic practices. Regenerative organic is considered the gold standard in agriculture, where goals focus on rehabilitating the soil, respecting the animals, and improving the lives of farmers.
The Taste of Provisions Gift Box has a mix of ready-to-eat pieces, like buffalo jerky and mango and almond snack bars, along with parcels that require a tiny bit of prep work. They are all tasty, but we preferred the items which asked for a bit of prep work because:
- They were fun and easy to prepare
- They allowed us to improvise and adjust to our individual taste leanings.
Take the breakfast cereal: Organic Creamy Banana Breakfast Grains. It contains buckwheat, barley, oatmeal, flax seed, banana, and vanilla. Definitely more pleasing and way more interesting than plain oatmeal. It takes longer to cook, but who doesn’t have nine minutes? We added more bananas and blueberries and topped it with a dollop of raspberry jam and a quick pour of maple syrup. So good. The package serves two and is just as good reheated on the following morning.
I was ready for the Organic Original Red Bean Chili, which has red and pinto beans, to take forever to prepare. Isn’t that how it goes with dried beans? Ah, but these beans have been hydrated and dehydrated. The cooking is quick (10 minutes) and the meal is scrumptious. I added fresh tomatoes and, of course, some sharp cheddar. One evening I served it with a baguette, the next over rice.
Both varieties of salmon – pink and Sockeye – were delicious. We tried them right out of the packet as well as oven-warmed. No, they won’t be tender and cake-like, as you might be lucky to experience with well-prepared and fresh caught fish. But this salmon works well on a cutting board, to be sliced and placed on crackers. Too messy as a trail food, I suspect, but have it when you get back. Like the chili, it’s high in protein. The Savory Sofrito Mussels are high in protein, too, but the taste and texture is what you’ll remember. They are seasoned with a bit of onion and spices, much more subtle than the smoky flavor of typical tinned mussels. They’re kept in olive oil with bell peppers and sherry.
Were those mussels from your childhood, drenched in cottonseed oil, with added artificial smoke flavor, really as good as you remember? Or was it the Maine woods and the 10 miles of canoeing that made them taste that good? This is what I was asking myself as I enjoyed this fresher, healthier version.
Surely, this pandemic is making new memories. Maybe you’re planning a living room safari overnight this weekend. Maybe Patagonia Provisions can help.